Business Week’s Peter Burrows wrote an interesting piece titled, “Will Netflix Kill the Internet” about how Netflix “now accounts for 20 percent of all Internet traffic during the typical American evening”.

That’s amazing…that 20% of all internet traffic in the US is Netflix streaming.

But it’s not just Netflix that is driving this digital content “whenever we want” mentaility.  According to Cisco, “Monthly traffic in 2006 was 5 exabytes, enough to store every word ever spoken.”  In 2014, 4 short years from now, that number will grow to 64 exabytes a month and 90% of that traffic will be video, according to Cisco.

No doubt that the cost of storage is one factor that has enabled the growth internet video. The fact that companies like Netflix can have multiple data centers serving hundreds of thousands if not millions of  videos on demand and make money doing it is in part due to the cost efficiency of disk based storage.  At the same time, this article argues that available bandwidth is perhaps getting squeezed.  Juniper calls this phenomenon the “revenue per bit” problem. In Juniper’s report, revenues for companies like AT&T and Comcast will grow 5%, but traffic will grow 27%, and investment to keep up with traffic will grow 20%.  According to Juniper the business model falls apart in 2014.

So what has to happen?  Storage may not be the biggest problem to address here…capacity increases, costs decrease, no new operational costs here, but if the pipe is so crammed with 64 exabytes a month of traffic, the user experience is going to decline unless a bigger more efficient pipe can be provided.  The way this trend is shaping up, that means we all may be paying more for our high speed internet services in the near future.  At least those of us that are streaming junkies… Right now we love our “flat rate boxes” when it comes to internet access, but it sounds like that is bound to change.

Maybe companies like Netflix should overtime send small packets of videos we have queued up to our Seagate GoFlex Home 2TB. Say the videos are remotely removed once we watch them.  At least we can stream from inside our house instead…no bandwidth issues here.

Just a thought.

Related Posts:

6 degrees of Kevin Bacon? Try the 4 degrees of hard drives
Storage is a 24×7 content drive thru…so “have it your way”
Another CES trend: content “wherever we want”
We want our content and we want it now (however we want)

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